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John Tarnoff

John Tarnoff


Head of Industry Relations, Master of Entertainment Industry Management Program

A career development consultant, university educator and former media/entertainment executive, John Tarnoff serves as Adjunct Professor and Head of Industry Relations for the Carnegie Mellon University Master of Entertainment Industry Management program.

John Tarnoff is a university educator, business coach, and former media/entertainment executive, whose career spans 40 years. As a Hollywood studio executive working for studios including MGM, Columbia Pictures, and Warner Bros., he was responsible for a number of memorable movies in the 1980s, including Diner, The Year of Living Dangerously, Pink Floyd: The Wall, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

During the 1990s technology bubble, he founded and led a startup that developed AI and animation-based customer service applications for Sprint, Progressive Insurance, Scottrade and others.  He returned to motion pictures as Head of Show Development for DreamWorks Animation in the 2000s, pivoting to a new focus on education, and running the company’s creative leadership, training, and college recruiting programs.  He currently co-runs Carnegie Mellon University’s Los Angeles-based graduate program in Entertainment Industry Management, and serves as an adjunct professor.

John’s overall focus is on leadership development across generations. In addition to his work with CMU, preparing young professionals for careers in the digital age, he advises and coaches his fellow baby boomers on strategies to sustain and prolong their careers through these changing and uncertain times. He is the author of Boomer Reinvention: How to Create Your Dream Career Over 50.

John holds a BA magna cum laude from Amherst College, and a MA in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. In 2017, he was named a Top Influencer in Aging by PBS NextAvenue.

Courses Taught


  • 93-889 - Capstone Project I

Additional Information